What is Public Health?
As described by the American Public Health Association: Public health promotes and
protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and
play. While a doctor treats people who are sick, those of us working in public health
try to prevent people from getting sick or injured in the first place. We also promote
wellness by encouraging healthy behaviors.
From conducting scientific research to educating about health, people in the field of public health work to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy. That can mean vaccinating children and adults to prevent the spread of disease. Or educating people about the risks of alcohol and tobacco. Public health sets safety standards to protect workers and develops school nutrition programs to ensure kids have access to healthy food.
Public health works to track disease outbreaks, prevent injuries and shed light on why some of us are more likely to suffer from poor health than others. The many facets of public health include speaking out for laws that promote smoke-free indoor air and seat-belts, spreading the word about ways to stay healthy and giving science-based solutions to problems.
Some examples of the many fields of public health:
- Health educators
- First responders
- Restaurant inspectors
- Scientists and researchers
- Community planners
- Social workers
- Public health physicians
- Public health nurses
- Occupational health and safety professionals
- Public policymakers